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PETA calls for boycott of Canadian maple syrup to protest seal hunt

A PETA demonstrator dressed as a baby seal gestures during a protest at the Statehouse in Montpelier, Vermont.

It's one of the most unusual boycotts we've heard of: PETA is calling on Americans to stop buying Canadian maple syrup to draw attention to the plight of seals during Canada's annual seal slaughter.

The rationale, the group says, is to hit our seal-killing neighbor to the north where it hurts -- in the pocketbook. "Canada has ignored calls from around the world to stop the seal slaughter, but we're hoping that a plunge in maple syrup sales might get the government's attention," People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals Executive Vice President Tracy Reiman said in a statement, adding that "there's nothing 'sweet' about a country that condones the largest annual massacre of marine mammals on the planet."

Many thousands of harp seals, hooded seals and grey seals are killed every year in a hunt that Canada's Fisheries and Oceans department insists is "founded on sound conservation principles" and necessary to protect fish stocks. And, despite widespread outrage over the cruelty of the hunt, the Fisheries and Oceans department says it has taken steps to ensure seals are killed humanely -- if by humanely you mean "only by the use of high-powered rifles, shotguns firing slugs, clubs and hakapiks."

Fortunately for seals, several factors have led many to speculate that the annual hunt may soon be discontinued (even without a maple syrup boycott). 

Earlier this month, the European parliament voted to ban imports of seal products, calling commercial seal hunting "inherently inhumane." (Both Canada and Norway said they would challenge the ban.) 

A few days after that vote, the U.S. Senate sent a strong message of its own, unanimously passing a resolution calling on Canada to end the hunt. 

Even before the European ban, seal pelts weren't exactly selling like hotcakes. "I can't see for the life of me how you could break even, let alone make money, this year," longtime sealer Jack Troake told CBC News. "It's almost impossible." 

--Lindsay Barnett

Photo: A PETA demonstrator dressed as a baby seal at a protest in Montpelier, Vt. Credit: Toby Talbot / Associated Press

Comments () | Archives (13)

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That's ridiculous. If PETA wanted to make a point, they should boycott Canadian fish imports. Syrup companies don't deserve to lose money over an issue they are not involved in.

I'll have maple syrup with that seal heart please! http://www.cbc.ca/canada/story/2009/05/27/jean-hunt.html
I encourage Americans to get the real facts about the seal hunt at:

Alexandra, where have you been? We have been boycotting Canadian seafood!

SOS, "real facts?" More like real propaganda. The seal hunt is senseless and extraordinarily inhumane and now that the EU has banned import of seal products, there's not even a market for the killing. Time to find another business!

The seal hunt is a misnomer. There is no "hunt." These despicable monsters walk up to baby seals as young as twelve days old and shoot them or beat them to death with hakapiks. Often they don't even ensure they're dead. A lot of video exists of baby seals being skinned alive. I've seen a skinned seal, its eyes still blinking. It's unfathomable that a government can allow this to continue.

Where is the outrage of the Canadian people in this? Why haven't they stopped this? I'm sorry, but if a maple syrup boycott calls attention to this government-sanctioned yearly atrocity, so be it. Frankly, this is one of the few PETA actions I can get behind 100%.

Dear Reader: Hunting baby seals in Canada has been illegal since the 80's. Only adults are hunted...maybe you should be going after producers of veal instead....!

As an environmentalist an ocean-lover, I must say that I am opposed to the seal hunt, since the only part of the seal used is the fur. With the exception of Inuits, who depend on seals for survival.
On that note- Get a life PETA!!!!!!
What does maple syrup have anything to do with killing seals? Canada's not the only cruel country in the world! Thousands of homeless pets in america are dying per year-BY YOUR HAND- so why don't you protest apple pie and baseball games? Afraid of being called unpatriotic?
This is why many people think this group is crazy. REAL activism is getting people's sympathy, NOT insulting them!!!!!

Clubbing of whitecoats-under 2 weeks old-was banned in the 80's because of the global outcry. Despite this, whitecoats are still taken illegally, this massacre happens over hundreds of square miles of ice, and the DFO has no ability or intention to monitor it. Seals start changing their coats at 10 days old, and then they can be clubbed. More than 90% of seals clubbed are between 2 weeks and 6 weeks old. They are definitely not "adults", they're still BABIES. They can't eat solid food or swim and they're dependent on either their mothers or their blubber to survive.

The truth is the PETA likes boycotting the seal hunt because those cute little whitecoats raise big bucks for them, even though it hasn't been legal to hunt them for over thirty years.

Maple syrup has nothing to do with the seal hunt, and is produced in completely different parts of Canada - and any drop in sales would likely be attributed to the recession at this point.

See The Economist for an article about the European seal fur ban: http://www.economist.com/opinion/displaystory.cfm?story_id=13649231

Seals are not endangered animals, and they are killed in a humane and sustainable manner; the biggest problem with the seal hunt is that baby seals are incredibly cute.

This is ridiculous. The conditions under which most American meat products are raised and slaughtered is FAR MORE inhumane than the annual seal hunt. Focus on solving your own problems before you hypocritically begin attacking what you perceive to be ours. The seal hunt is the most regulated wild harvest in the world. It is needed to maintain a healthy and viable seal population while simultaneously reducing pressure on rapidly disappearing wild fish stocks. As a Canadian maple syrup producer I will from this point forward withdraw any support for any peta actions and will encourage friends, family and customers to do the same.
You have really missed the mark here in your continuing campaign of misinformation!

PETA is incredibly misguided. They are punishing business owners, who harvest and distribute a vegan product by the way, for the actions of others who happen to share a country of origin. That's like saying some thugs in South Central killed someone. So, let's randomly assassinate some innocent Americans in Boise, ID to get revenge.

Just to spite the ignorant, I bought three Canadian produced maple syrups today. That should be enough to last my family a decade.

Tell PETA to go and JUMP IN A LAKE they have killed far more animals and all this time while blabbering about COMPASSION in their stupid ads PETA IS STUPID AND SO IS ANYONE WHO HAS ANYTHING TO DO WITH THEM

For these annoying PETA idiots to be calling for a boycott of maple srup over the killing of seals while they have killed 97% of the animals they adopted is the ultimate show of hypocracy

I could go for some waffles, with some lamb sausage, and a few slices of baby seal bacon, smoothered in maple syrup, and maybe some whipped cream on top...


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